Keep Your Home Safe: Decorating For The Holidays Without Overloading Your Circuits

9 November 2016
 Categories: , Blog

When you put holiday lighting or other displays inside or out on your lawn, many of these take electricity to run. It's important to know what you are dealing with when it comes to your circuits so that you can avoid overloading your system. Typical circuits in your home can range from 15 amps to 20 amps, with higher rated amps dedicated specifically towards high power items such as dryers. Each circuit has a breaker, which is usually located in a breaker box in your basement or garage. A 15 amp circuit handles up to 1800 watts of power, while a 20 amp circuit can handle up to 2400 watts.

The Point of Circuit Breakers

The circuit breaker is there to shut off the circuit if the power draw of items plugging into a circuit reaches maximum capacity. This helps prevent hot wires, circuit overload, and fires. The circuit breaker will pop when the wattage draw pulling on the circuit comes close to capacity. When you use too many items plugged into a circuit at one time, the circuit will break. It's easy to identify the circuit in question when you look at your circuit breakers. Lightly touch each one and try to move the switch back and forth. The tripped circuit will be loose and need to be reset again.

Typical Outdoor Holiday Lighting Wattage Use

How much power you need to safely light up your front yard depends largely on whether you choose LED lights or Incandescent lights. 30 strings of LED lights, which will roughly wrap two large trees in your yard, will need 144 watts, while the same amount of lights in incandescent bulbs would need 1,224 watts. If the circuit you are plugging into is a 15 amp or 1800 watt capacity, you can see how quickly strings of incandescent bulbs can overload a circuit. Lights that go across your roof, such as a 500 foot C9 string, using incandescent bulbs, will need 3500 watts of power. A heavily lit outdoor display may need a number of circuits from your home in order to work effectively.

While your circuit breakers will trip when you overload a circuit, you can help prevent fires by spreading out your power needs for an outdoor display among a number of breakers in your home. Don't keep adding lights to a string well beyond the recommendations. Use common sense and you will enjoy the holidays with a beautiful outdoor display. For more information, contact local professionals like Chadwick Electric Services.